Stephen Lendmanlives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
By Stephen Lendman
"Obama is right. Sanctions don’t work. Not against Cuba. Russia. Iran or other countries. Provided they stay firm. Defending their sovereign rights. Cuba did admirably. For over half a century. Against US imperialism.
Its leadership a testimony to successful sovereign resilience. Prevailing against long odds. Longstanding US Cuban policy failed. Washington’s objective remains unchanged. Regime change! Installing pro-Western stooge governance. Returning Cuba to its bad old days.
Castro gained power on January 1, 1959. Transforming a repressive brothel into a populist state. Ousting Washington’s man in Havana. Fulgencio Batista. A despot by any standard. Franklin Roosevelt once called former Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza “a son of a bitch. (B)ut he’s our son of a bitch,” he explained.
America supports many like him. Batista’s fascist regime earlier. Current repressive Central America/Caribbean governments. In Honduras. Guatemala. Haiti.Saudi Arabia. Other Gulf states. Ukraine in central Europe. Fascists running Israel. Numerous other repressive regimes.
Obama’s new Cuba gambit reflects imperial policy by other means. Hold the cheers. More on this below.
Until illness in 2006 forced him to step down, Fidel was the world’s longest serving political leader. Now aged 88, its preeminent elder statesman.Still expressing important views. “Reflections of Fidel.” In September saying “just ideas or disaster will triumph.”
“Global society has known no peace in recent years.” Because of US/European policies. Threatening world peace. With “weapons which could mean the end of human existence.”
He called Western regimes “unscrupulous actors.” Especially America. “(I)nterven(ing) militarily in Cuba…” Earlier owning most of the country. Raping it for profit.
Preventing Cubans from “produc(ing) enough grain to feed the population…Cynicism is something which has become symbolic of imperial policy.”
Rapaciousness defines it. “(O)ur interests,” said Obama. Castro knows them well. Duplicity writ large. Plotting control over Cuba again.
Intending to colonize it for profit. Plunder its resources. Including offshore oil. Exploit its people. Obama is a serial liar.
Claiming US policy is “rooted in the best of intentions…” Brazen dishonesty. Willful deception. Longstanding US policies speak for themselves.
Serving monied interests exclusively. At the expense of beneficial social change. Mindless of democratic rights. Rule of law principles.
Including prohibitions against interfering in the internal affairs of other nations. Sovereign independence is inviolable.
Not according to Washington rules. Imposing them lawlessly. With full scoundrel media support. The New York Times outrageously calls Cuba “a repressive police state.”
Ignoring decades of ruthless US anti-Castro policy. Hailing a “historic move.” “Transformational.”
Claiming Washington is right in demanding “greater personal freedoms and democratic change.”
Instead of exposing it as the world’s most egregious civil and human rights abuser. None match America’s abusive record. Longstanding. Horrific by any standard.
The Times was right calling US Cuban policy “one of the most misguided chapters in American foreign policy.” Mindless of Obama’s intent.
Opening Cuba to America’s monied interests spells trouble. Like it always does. US policies aren’t benign.
Cuba already infested with US anti-government operatives. USAID. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
International Republican Institute (IRI). Freedom House. Center for a Free Cuba. Institute for Democracy in Cuba. Cuba Dissidence Task Group.
Various other groups and initiatives. Raul Castro warned earlier about “attempts to subtly introduce platforms for neoliberal thought and for the restoration of neocolonial capitalism.”
Saying he “reiterated on many occasions our willingness to hold a respectful dialogue with the United States on the basis of sovereign equality in order to deal reciprocally with a wide variety of topics without detriment to the national Independence and self-determination of our people.”
“We propose to the Government of the United States the adoption of mutual steps to improve the bilateral atmosphere and advance towards normalization of relations between our two countries, based on the principles of International Law and the United Nations Charter.”
“We don’t demand that the US change its political or social system and we don’t accept negotiations over ours.”
It bears repeating. Longstanding US policy call for regime change. Obama’s pronouncement shows tactics alone changing.
By establishing diplomatic relations. Opening a Havana embassy. Regime change headquarters. Infested with CIA operatives for sure. Plotting destabilization tactics.
Obama loosening embargo conditions. As much as possible by executive order. Without congressional approval. Unlikely with Republicans in charge next year.
Or Democrats like current Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez (D. NJ). Blasting Obama.
Turning truth on its head saying his “actions have vindicate the brutal behavior of the Cuban government. (S)et(ting) an extremely dangerous precedent.”
“(I)nvit(ing) dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips. I fear that today’s actions will put at risk the thousands of Americans that work overseas to support civil society, advocate for access to information, provide humanitarian services, and promote democratic reforms.”
The New York Times cited unnamed administration officials. Saying Treasury will issue easing Cuban trade regulations. On US agricultural exports. Banking relations.
Commerce Department will permit exports of construction materials. Telecommunications equipment. Scientific, athletic and cultural products. Various other goods.
Efforts will move quickly to replace old rules with new ones. Facilitating travel. Financial dealings. Exports. According to US officials.
“The Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department will scrap a measure that requires people who are already eligible for travel to Cuba to receive special permission from the government for trips such as those involving family visits, professional, religious or cultural programs and humanitarian projects,” said The Times.
“New rules will also make it easier to get there, by allowing the direct purchase of airline tickets to Cuba rather than requiring travelers to go through a travel agent and charter a flight.”
Treasury is increasing how much money Americans may send Cubans. Fourfold. From $500 to $2,000.
The State Department may end Cuba’s unjust state sponsor of terrorism designation. Longstanding US Cuban policy reflects it writ large. Don’t expect The Times to explain.
According to US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson:
“We would anticipate that we will have an embassy before” nominating an ambassador.
“That process is relatively straightforward, frankly, from a legal perspective. We can do that via an exchange of letters or of notes. It doesn’t require a formal sort of legal treaty or agreement.”
White House officials said they spent months determining how far to go unilaterally. Without violating the letter of embargo conditions. Or “eviscerat(ing)” them.
Washington’s Havana Interests Section will serve as its embassy. A future nest of destabilizing spies.
Political analyst Andrew Korybko asked if Raul Castro “reverse(d) the entire Cuban revolution.” Did he make “a fatal mistake?”
By getting in bed with the devil. It remains to be seen how much. Will color revolution follow? At age 88, Fidel’s time is passing. Whether soon or later who knows. Korybko believes he’s closer to death than Havana admits. An era will pass with his loss. Inevitable sooner or later. Key is what follows.
Raul is 83. Reportedly in good health. Last year saying he’ll step down in 2018. “This is my last term,” he said. Shortly after National Assembly members reelected him for another five years.
At the same time naming Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez First Vice President. Next in line to Raul.
Cuba’s current government appears its last under Fidel and Raul. Possible succession figures include Diaz-Canel. Four other vice presidents.
Including Jose Machado Ventura. Aged 82. Ceding his first vice presidential position to Diaz-Canel.
Commander of the Revolution Ramiro Valdes. Aged 80. Comptroller General Gladys Bejerano. Aged 66. Both vice presidents.
Others include First Secretary of the Communist Party Mercedes Lopexz Acea. Aged 48. Labor federation head Salvador Valdes Mesa. Aged 64.
In 2013, 68-year-old former vice president Estaban Lazo was named National Assembly president. Replacing longtime leader Ricardo Alarcon.
Earlier he commented on who would succeed Fidel, saying:
“All those who have been trying to fool the world and put out the idea that something terrible would happen in Cuba, that people would take to the streets, that there would be great instability, the door slammed on them and they must have very swollen hands now.”
Cuban policy going forward remains to be seen. New leaders will replace old ones. Hopefully revolutionary spirit won’t change.
Remaining vibrant. Resilient. Redoubtable. Too precious to lose".